Though shunned in the acting categories, “American Hustle’s” cast took home the award for best ensemble in a motion picture at the 20th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Saturday at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
“He is an actor’s director,” said Bradley Cooper of the film’s director, David O. Russell. “He is the reason why we all wanted to become actors as children.”
The two-hour show presented Hollywood’s elite with 13 awards in both film and television. It began with actors like Rob Lowe, Kaley Cuoco Sweeting and Juliette Lewis discussing why they became actors — highlighting that the awards are voted on by guild actors.
Matthew McConaughey’s portrayal of an AIDS activist in “Dallas Buyers Club” earned him yet another award this season, nabbing the best male actor in a leading role award and proving he’s the one to beat at the Oscar’s in March.
“I’ve been able to recently find some characters I could humble myself to their humanities and then get feverishly drunk on their obsessions,” McConaughey said during a lengthy acceptance speech.
Later in the night, McConaughey said he’s been having more fun than ever in his career.
His drastic physical transformation for the film was easy, he said, after he made the mental decision that it was needed for the role. It led him to tapioca pudding, which he says he would make last an hour by using a small antique sugar spoon.
“Blue Jasmine’s” Cate Blanchett beat out some tough competition for best female actor in a leading role, including Sandra Bullock, Meryl Streep and Judi Dench.
“Thank you to those who voted for me,” Blanchett said. “For those who didn’t, better luck next year.”
Backstage, Blanchett said she has been having an extraordinary week and having the award presented to her by Robert De Niro “couldn’t get any better.”
Newcomer Lupita Nyong’o won the first award of the evening for best supporting actress for her role in “12 Years a Slave.” It was her first SAG Award nomination and emotionally called it “an honor of the highest order.”
“Thank you, thank you, thank you, Steve McQueen,” Nyong’o said, talking to the film’s director. “Thank you for taking a flashlight and shining it underneath the floorboards of this nation and reminding us a what it is we stand on.”
It was also the first SAG Award for “Dallas Buyers Club’s” Jared Leto who won best supporting actor for his role as a transvestite AIDS activist in the film.
Leto thanked his mother, who was his date for the evening, and those who go about their lives the way they want to, rather than how other people want them to live it.
“I’d like to dedicate this very special, special, special honor to all of the people who have lost their lives as a result of this dreadful disease. To the people out there around the world who are living with HIV/AIDs,” Leto said. “I’m so proud that I’ve been able to glimpse the world through your eyes.”
Not so new to the SAG Award scene is the cast of ABC’s “Modern Family,” which won best ensemble in a comedy series for the fourth consecutive year.
Emma Thompson — who hilariously presented at the Golden Globes barefoot with a drink in her hand — continued her awards season entertainment saying, “Is this music available on CD? It’s so good,” as she walked on stage to present Michael Douglas with the award for best male actor in a TV movie or miniseries. Douglas has already won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his role as Liberace in “Behind the Candelabra.”
Douglas continued his comedic acceptance speeches as he quipped about howhe and his co-star Matt Damon went “head to head.” On a more serious note, he thanked Damon, who was also nominated in the category, and said he wouldn’t be there without him.
Morgan Freeman presented Rita Moreno, 82, with the SAG Life Achievement Award. The actors starred together on the children’s show “The Electric Company” in 1971.
Moreno, who is one of the few EGOT winners — someone who has won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony — starred as Anita in the film adaptation of “West Side Story,” and has also appeared in “The King and I,” “Carnal Knowledge,” “The Night of the Following Day,” among others.
Part of Moreno’s acceptance speech was bleeped out, and the Puerto Rican actress was not apologetic.
“I’m so (expletive) happy,” the Puerto Rican actress said. “I’m sorry for that word. Actually I’m not.”
She went on to sing a few lines from a Frank Sinatra song that she said summed up the moment perfectly.
“As I approach the prime of my life, I find I have the time of my life ... and so I happily concede. This is all I ask. This is all I need,” she sang.
Backstage, Moreno discussed her long friendship with Freeman and admitted she had a glass of wine at the show.
“One glass of wine and I can’t speak. Two glasses of wine and I belong to anybody,” she said.
The now kaput “Breaking Bad” can say it ended on a high note with the cast winning best ensemble in a drama series. The show’s star, Bryan Cranston, was also honored with the award for best male actor in a drama series for his portrayal of Walter White.
“I’ve had so many crappy jobs in my life, I gotta tell ya,” he said. “I loaded trucks downtown — coal, dust, dirt... And the only thing that for me through was imagining, dreaming, that one day I could actually make a living as an actor. We are the luckiest people in the world who can say ‘I am an actor.’”